May 18, 2019

A regular collection of links to writings and broadcasts in other media

ABC’s Saturday Extra with Geraldine Doogue  (from 0730 to 0900 or on their website  in case you miss it).

Geraldine talks with:

Veteran sports journalist Roy Masters about the pressures on Foxtel and the end of the sports broadcasting ‘gravy train’, and also about the Israel Folau controversy;

Richard Heydarian, political analyst and author of Rise of Duterte: A Populist Revolt Against Elite Democracy and Greg Earl, editor of the Asia Society Briefing Monthly, on the Philippine election;

Economist John Edwards, and Heather Ridout, chair of Australian Super and former head of the Australian Industry Group, on Bob Hawke’s relationship with Australian business;

Professor Michael Wesley, Dean of the College of Asia and the Pacific, ANU, on Hawke’s foreign policy approaches, and also on President Trump’s most recent dramatic foreign policy actions;

In Election Express, newspaper editors from Gilgandra NSW, Cape York Queensland, and the Indian Link media group, based in Sydney.

Other commentary

Today’s choice – me or us

“All that remains is a threshold question: will your choice be aimed at benefiting yourself and your family, or the wider community and ‘those less fortunate than ourselves’?”  Ross Gittins.

Don’t waste your Senate vote

Remember that the way we vote for senators changed in 2016.  You have a choice of voting for:

At least  six candidates above the line,


At leasttwelve candidates below the line.

Many people waste their vote by stopping at the minimum number.  As The Australia Institute’s Richard Denniss points out  in The Guardian, “if you have a preference about which party you most want to keep out of the Senate then it’s up to you to say so by listing your preferences for ALL of the parties.”

He illustrates his point with the NSW Liberal Party how-to-vote card, which (understandably) puts the Coalition first, followed by five small parties of the far right, with no further preferences. One who followed that card would be expressing no preference between Labor, One Nation and the Greens.

Vale Bob Hawke

There is no shortage of obituaries for Bob Hawke in the mainstream media. John Kerin, who served in the Hawke ministry has sent us this recollection (and advice):

It was a privilege to be in the Hawke Cabinet. In 1983 I sent him a Christmas card thanking him for the best day of my life. I can only hope that the voters tomorrow may join the dots and realise that reform is again possible and that tax cuts do not compose a policy for all of Australia’s society.

Another person who served in the Hawke Ministry is Margaret Reynolds, who has sent us a recollection: Bob Hawke … A Leader for Australian Women.

And there is Bob Hawke’s final written contribution, his open letter endorsing Bill Shorten for PM.

The final polls

William Bowe’s Poll Bludger confirms a slight tightening in the polls: his BludgerTrack has the two-party vote at 51.6 per cent to 48.4 per cent in Labor’s favour, and the betting markets would pay out $5.00 for a Coalition win and $1.16 for a Labor win.

While the two-party vote is fairly steady there seems to be movement backwards and forwards within left-right groups, with shifts between Labor and the Greens, and between the Coalition and extreme right parties.

There are a number of seat polls, but for many reasons to do with the limits of statistical sampling and the incentives of those who release the polls, they should be treated with caution.

A reminder that Bowe has a donation drive. Good analytical journalism involves a lot of work.

Elections past

What have been the most important federal elections in shaping Australian society? On Phillip Adams’ Late Night Live  Benjamin Jones of ANU and Alex Millmow of Federation University discuss their contributions to the book Elections Matter: Ten Federal Elections that Shaped Australia. They explain why Gough Whitlam’s narrow loss in 1969 is on their list, while his 1972 victory isn’t. And they explain the significance of Scullin’s 1929 victory over the patrician Stanley Bruce whose economic program could have led Australia into something even worse than the 1930s Depression. (Why does Labor tend to win office just as the world economy turns down?)

The Australia we want

On Thursday the Community Council for Australia, a body representing Australia’s not-for-profit sector, released its second The Australia we want  report. “Australians are more than individual tax paying economic units. Our productivity, innovation, skills and achievements are actually grounded in flourishing communities within our schools, workplaces, families and local neighbourhoods”.

The Community Council’s CEO, David Crosbie, discusses the report  with Phillip Adams on Late Night Live– some people may find the report’s findings to be surprising.

The mining industry – unloved even in Queensland

The ABC’s Stephen Long has brought to our attention a survey of Queenslanders’ attitudes  to the mining industry, conducted (but not released) by Ipsos for the Queensland Resources Council. The survey finds that only finance and aged care have a more negative reputation than mining. It contradicts the perception that “the electorate is divided between ‘coal-loving Queenslanders’ and voters in southern states”. Perhaps the clearest explanation of the politics of the minerals industry is provided by Canberra Timescartoonist David Pope.

Penalty rates – where are all the new workers?

Wasn’t the cut in penalty rates going to open up employment opportunities in the retail and hospitality industries?  It hasn’t happened, and writing in The Conversation  Martin O’Brien of the University of Wollongong explains why. “It doesn’t matter how much you try and reduce business costs via penalty rate cuts, if people aren’t spending money then employers are not going to put extra people on for Sundays and public holidays.”

If you have 30 minutes to spare and have some basic explanation of the economics of wages, productivity and technological change, on the ABC’ The Economists  Peter Martin and Gigi Foster discuss Labor and Coalition policies  with Jeff Borland of the University of Melbourne. (We may believe that low wage growth in a time of even lower inflation still leaves employees better off, but when a household is heavily in debt it’s nominal wage growth that counts, because debt is fixed in nominal terms.)

And just in case you need any convincing that the Coalition’s claims about their economic management superiority are bunkum, the economist and accounting couple Betty Con walker and Bob Walker, writing in Fairfax media, provide some simple and rigorous analysis of the two main parties’ fiscal records.

How the far-right hijacked globalisation

To some, the term “globalisation” refers to the postwar liberal order hammered out in 1944 at Bretton Woods, while to others it refers to the advance of market capitalism riding roughshod over national interests.  In his Foreign Affairs  review article A world safe for capital,  Stephen Wertheim reviews the work of Quinn Slobodian, author of Globalists: The End of Empire and the Birth of Neoliberalism. The Bretton Woods order was a liberal agreement between sovereign governments, designed to spread prosperity and protect against destructive economic nationalism. But those who hold the reins of international capitalism seek to manipulate and control national governments; their world order is not liberal. “The meaningful question has never been whether to have world order or not; it is what the terms will be and who will set them. In 2019, that question remains open ended, much as it was in 1919. The only certainty is that those who retreat within the nation do so at their peril.” (The period 1919 to 1939 saw growing nationalism and beggar-thy-neighbour protectionism, both contributing to depression and war.)

There are some policies that even Jacinda Ardern can’t understand

Courtesy of The Guardian’s  Eleanor Ainge Roy, you can see that Ardern is completely flummoxed  in trying to understand America’s gun policy.

Saturday’s Good Reading and Listening is compiled by Ian McAuley

Watch out tomorrow, Sunday, for Peter Sainsbury’s Sunday environment round up


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